Here Be Dragons
By Sam McMillan
Talk to anyone in the virtual reality (VR) industry, and the first buzzword you hear is immersion. Talk to Patrick Milling-Smith of VR production studio Here Be Dragons, and you hear presence, empathy,experience, agency. It is clear that Here Be Dragons is after something bigger than immersion.
It’s an ambition, goal, destination and result that becomes apparent as soon as one of Dragons’ works begins to play. It’s the vivid presence of a Holocaust survivor as he makes his final visit to the concentration and extermination camp where his parents and sister were murdered, in “The Last Goodbye.” It’s the horror of watching the man in art installation Real Violence take a baseball bat to a dummy’s head before proceeding to bash its lifelike face in. It’s the breathless drama of an all-night crime spree as experienced through the viewpoint of the 911 operator in VR miniseries Dispatch.